Survey: Monday good workday to surf for deals
Posted November 30, 2008 11:01 a.m. EST
Updated December 1, 2008 9:48 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Retailers hope that shoppers will throng to cyberspace Monday after crowding into malls and brick-and-mortar stores over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The 3-year-old neologism Cyber Monday indicates the official marketing kickoff for online retailers, the day when, they hope, shoppers who couldn't find what they wanted in stores turn to the Internet.
Chad Etzel, of Apex, said he plans to spend about two hours purchasing items via his home computer Monday.
"You can visit way more stores online without having to leave the house and drive around, fight traffic and people," Etzel said.
Initial predictions for online sales aren't promising: ComScore says they'll be flat after 19 percent growth in 2007, while the American Research Group says shoppers plan to spend an average of $536 apiece online, down 45 percent from last year.
In response, retailers are pushing sales to lure shoppers. Nearly 84 percent of online retailers plan to do so, up from 72 percent last year, according to a Shop.org survey conducted by Shopzilla in October.
"As shoppers focus on price this holiday season, online retailers will be extremely competitive to offer the very best deals," said Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation.
Most deals will come in the form of product-specific offers, e-mail campaigns and one-day sales, according to the survey. Nearly a quarter of online retailers also plan to offer free shipping.
In-store sales from Black Friday offered some hope that those tactics can bring in dollars, even in a troubled economy that has consumers tightening their budgets. Amid aggressive price cuts, in-store sales on the day after Thanksgiving rose 3 percent over last year to $10.6 billion, according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a Chicago-based research firm.
Etzel said he has already started previewing the hot buys to debut on the Internet Monday.
"Lots of stores will put out deals just for that Monday," he said.
The NRF has created a Web site, CyberMonday.com, where 600 retailers promote their sales. More than 1.5 million people visited the site during the 2007 holiday season.
"Americans who are looking to put a dent in their holiday shopping will be able to find thousands of bargains on Cyber Monday," Silverman said.
However, small-business owners cautioned shoppers not to discount their stores, which can offer service that online retailers can't.
"You always get personal service when you got a small-business company. You may have the guy or the lady who owns the shop there talking to you," John Odom, chairman of the Greater Raleigh Merchants' Association, said.
Who will be doing all that online shopping Monday?
Most likely young adults, aged 18-34, and men, according to another Shop.org survey conducted by BIGresearch Nov. 5-11.
Those groups will most likely be shopping from their work desks; 70 percent of young adults and 60.3 percent of men with Internet access at work told questioners they planned to do that.
Slightly over 50 percent of women said the same thing.
"I think I might look around a little at work on my lunch break," Etzel said. "It'll be a good opportunity to research."